A southern Minnesota community is mourning the loss of its police chief after he killed himself Monday night.

New Richland Police Chief Scott Eads, 40, took his own life in a secluded area of neighboring Freeborn County, officials said Tuesday.

“It’s a complete shock,” said New Richland officer Ryan Gehrke. “He was well-known and well-liked.”

New Richland, located about 30 miles southwest of Owatonna, is a community of about 1,200 people where most everyone knows everyone else. Eads joined the Police Department there in 2000 and became chief in 2007, overseeing Gehrke, the only other full-time employee of the department. It also has four part-time employees.

It’s a quiet community where often the biggest ruckus is caused by “a juvenile delinquent going through cars,” Gehrke said.

“I know what car should be where at what time, “ Gehrke said. “I know when a light in your garage is supposed to be on or not. I know your schedule probably better than you know your schedule.”

Last month, the biggest problem was that several residents complained about grass clippings being blown into the street, according to Eads’ report to the City Council.

Eads was the type of chief who knew his community and always wanted to learn more about it and being a police chief, Gehrke said.

“Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers while they work through this difficult period,” a written statement said.

Eads is survived by his wife, Candace, and two young children.

The Waseca County Sheriff’s Office is helping with calls and police matters for New Richland. The City Council likely will have to eventually choose a new police chief, Gehrke said.